Debunking the Eco Driving Myth
With eco-emissions recently hitting the headlines, there are lots of opinions on how to drive more economically, and what you hear about a car, may not always be a true reflection. To help, we thought we would debunk several eco-driving myths as well as give our top tips on driving to save fuel:
Small Cars = Better Fuel Economy
In the past, many people thought you were only able to get the best rates of mpg if you drove a small car, such as a Vauxhall Corsa. However, advances in technology now means even some the biggest cars, such as the Nissan Qashquai, offer much improved fuel economy compared to smaller sized engines.
Manual Vs Automatic
You no longer need to drive a manual gearbox in order to achieve now the best mpg from your fuel. Some automatics are as efficient in saving fuel mid-gear shift as manuals. For example, the latest Ford Fiesta Diesel, with automatic transmission, can in some cases boast an impressive 75mpg.
Off or Idle
How many times have you waited outside for someone and turned off the engine to preserve fuel? A lot of cars now come with a stop-start system which are programmed to preserve fuel and overall maintenance of the car. For example, if you’re sat idle at traffic lights, the new system will cut the engine motor quickly and also start the engine up again, economising fuel and saving time. Similarly, the engine won’t switch off if your car is low on battery- ensuring that you never run flat.
With older models it’s always best to switch off the engine if you are waiting for a long time. As a rule, if your stop is for more than one minute then you'll save fuel by switching your engine off during this time. Any less and you won't make savings, and may actually use more!
The older the vehicle, the more fuel economy decreases
The truth of the matter for this one is that – car maintenance will go a long way in helping to prevent your car from becoming a gas guzzler, due to poor engine care. Fuel economy over 15 years will dip slightly, but with regular car maintenance, this dip should be minimal and you should continue to get roughly the same mpg as you got when you first purchased the car.
Premium fuels are better
Unless your vehicle was specifically designed to run off premium fuel, the chances are that you won’t notice much difference. Check the user manual of your car to see if this is the case. If not, save your pennies and stick with regular.
Stated MPG isn't guaranteed
Manufacturers will state an MPG figure for the vehicle you are looking to get, but this isn't a given and should be taken with a pinch of salt. According to a study published by The AA, the fuel consumption figures were in some case, 21% less than the figure that was published. It will never be 100% accurate, as it is very dependent on lifestyle and driving style. So don’t rely too heavily on the figure that a manufacturer provides.
So there are a few things to consider when you are trying to save on fuel. Tips and tricks that may have worked 20 years ago may not be much use to you now with today’s modern cars. Here are our useful tips to remember to ensure you are getting the best out of your vehicle:
Keep your car well maintained - regular servicing and TLC, particularly on the engine, will allow it to run to its full potential.
Ensure tyres are pumped up to the recommended pressure level. This will reduce drag and ensure you don’t use up too much fuel.
Remove unnecessary weight, such as roof boxes and bike racks. The added weight will increase drag, meaning the car needs to work harder and use more fuel.
Try and avoid sitting in traffic – a given but sitting in congestion will use up more fuel.
Drive smoothly, as keeping a constant speed rather than constantly accelerating and braking will improve the cars economic performance.
Stick to speed limits – the faster you go, the greater the fuel consumption.